American Heart Association Lauds EmblemHealth for Commitment to Employee Health and Wellness

NEW YORK, July 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the third year in a row, the American Heart Association (AHA) has named EmblemHealth a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Company for its efforts to help employees become more healthy through nutrition and exercise. EmblemHealth, which provides coverage for 3.4 million people through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), is one of the largest regional health insurers in New York and the only health plan in New York to receive this recognition from the AHA.

According to William Gillespie, M.D., EmblemHealth's Chief Medical Officer, the EmblemHealth myHealth PATH program was conceived to empower employees by encouraging them to take charge of their health. The incentive program offers participants cash rewards for healthy behaviors, such as seeing physicians for well visits, tests and screenings; joining a gym; and participating in the company's popular on-site leader walks. It also serves as an in-house "lab" for potential consumer-wellness products.

"Over the past three years, we've learned that employees who participate in the myHealth PATH program are more likely to complete preventive health screenings, such as mammograms and Pap tests, and experience improved access to preventive and outpatient health services," says Dr. Gillespie, noting that these are important HEDIS®   performance measures. "This program is part of EmblemHealth's culture of wellness and a well-established tradition of offering employees a range of health and wellness options. We are very proud to be recognized by the AHA for this very important program."            

Last year, more than 1,000 employees — 25 percent of EmblemHealth's workforce — received cash awards ranging from $375 to $750 for participating in the results-oriented myHealth PATH program, which features online classes and challenges, and support from wellness coaches who assist participants to adopt healthy behaviors and reach health goals.

In addition, 64 percent of participants said the program helped them make significant changes in their behavior; 60 percent said the program helped decrease stress levels; and 35 percent said it helped alleviate symptoms of depression.

EmblemHealth has found that this type of wellness program translates into short- and long-term cost savings and employee retention, in addition to helping employees adopt healthy lifestyles and feel better.

"The Fit-Friendly Worksites Program offers a unique, easy-to-implement opportunity for corporations to increase employees' physical activity which will help improve their health — and their employers' bottom line," said Beth Oliver, RN, MS, American Heart Association Board Member and Chairperson of the My Heart My Life Initiative in New York City. "Even people who haven't exercised regularly until middle age can reap significant benefits by starting a walking program."

For more information about the Fit-Friendly Worksites program and how it is helping to improve the health of Americans by focusing on an activity that is convenient, free and easy, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit heart.org.

About EmblemHealth:

EmblemHealth, Inc., through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), provides quality health care coverage and administrative services to approximately 3.4 million people. Groups and individuals can choose from a variety of PPO, EPO and HMO plans, as well as coverage for prescription drugs and dental and vision care. EmblemHealth offers a choice of networks, including quality doctors and other health care professionals throughout the region, leading acute care hospitals across the tristate area, and physicians and hospitals across all 50 states. For more information, visit www.emblemhealth.com.

About the American Heart Association:

The American Heart Association (AHA) is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America's No. 1 and No. 4 killers. AHA teams with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any AHA office around the country. Follow AHA on Facebook and Twitter.

About the AHA Fit-Friendly Companies Program:
The Fit-Friendly Companies Program provides a catalyst for positive change in the American workforce by helping companies make employee health and wellness a priority. Participating companies get free access to program resources such as a free Walking Program, materials to help promote company wellness programs to employees and internal newsletter templates.

SOURCE EmblemHealth



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